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17 Tips for Email Etiquette

As Sony's recent troubles with the hack attack, believed to be related to the release of The Interview, showed—it pays to be careful of what you say and how you say it in emails.

  1. Be polite. Take a break if you're annoyed or upset—emails can't be undone—and may be used in court, especially if you're sharing negative opinions or derogatory comments that affect someone's livelihood.
  2. Remember, if you use a work account for personal emails—your boss may be reading them. 
  3. Don’t tell or share secrets. “Private” emails are forwarded, often by mistake, all the time—and yours may end up as part of a thread. 
  4. Avoid Reply All (unless you've triple-checked). Please don't share your cc’s on group emails. Use bcc.
  5. Remember,  jokes or casual comments may be misconstrued. Never swear in a business communication.
  6. Don’t fire, critique or make unkind comments. Emails never disappear and it’s unlikely the feelings that you hurt will—and remember about legal clout and unanticipated shares.
  7. Don't discuss confidential matters. There could be fallout if the email goes astray.
  8. Of course, if you receive an email that’s got lost, return to sender asap, and be nice about it.
  9. Answer emails on the day, when it’s a workday. Checking your emails at least before lunch and before the close of business is good practice—every two or three hours is best practice. Too often will diminish your productivity—and/or your employer’s, but is a personal choice. So is checking after hours or on weekends. Many people are choosing not to check emails as often. 
  10. Work emails after hours are, more and more, being seen as an imposition. Don’t be offended if you don’t receive an immediate response, or during at-home time. Studies show that being on the alert raises stress and is bad for health. If you have employees, don’t expect them to respond from home unless they're paid to be on call.
  11. DON’T SHOUT IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. Never use all caps.
  12. Notify before you send large attachments. Recipients may have limited storage. Send no more than two attachments at once. They may not wish to download on secondary devices.
  13. Don’t forward or disclose without asking first—a business suggestion or document may be proprietary information or only intended for you. This also applies to pix, documents, and your cell videos (they can be huge files). Plus. there may be copyright issues.
  14. Don't forward internet jokes, best pictures of dogs (or cats!) or whatever, or any send-to-10-friends in the next 10 minutes emails--they may have more than goodwill attached.
  15. Use a business-like signature (not Best Dad Ever) and a clear subject line. If it's a new contact, say why you're in touch in the subject line (Jane Doe suggested I contact you) or remind them where and how you met.
  16. Always include your social media, web, and other handy links in your signature—and don't use fancy fonts or colors to do it.
  17. Don't forget to proof for typos, reread for clarity, and make sure you haven't said anything you shouldn't. Take out extra !!!       


More Great Tips: See Business Insider          

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